Category archives: Museums

Maine museum considers a better mouse trap, and then some

Folks spending October in Maine can take part in what will serve “as booth classroom and catalyst” as the Owls Head Transportation Museum offers a three-week workshop, “More Than a Better Mouse Trap: An Interactive Tour of Human Innovation,” with the first session Tuesday, October 3.

The museum said its collection “will be woven into a story that analyzes how technology and science have influenced the structure of our society” through a journey “of achievements and accidents that have prodoundly altered our culture and communities.”

The opening session is “Foundation,” followed on October 10 by Speed, and on October 17 by Flight and Future.

Sessions run from 10 a.m. until noon at the museum in Owls Head, Maine.

To register, contact Niki Janczura at

Model by Arizona sculptor Clyde Morgan captures spirit of upcoming seminar   | Owls Head photo
Model by Arizona sculptor Clyde Morgan captures spirit of upcoming seminar | Owls Head photo

Derek Bell to receive Simeone’s Spirit of Competition award

The Simeone Foundation Auto Museum in Philadelphia has announced that its Spirit of Competition award for 2017 will be presented to Derek Bell. The 10th annual award presentation is scheduled for November 15 at the museum.

The museum honors someone from motorsports with “a specific inspirational message.”

Bell is a five-time Le Mans winner, three-time Daytona 24 winner and two-time World Sports Car Champion.

Special events this weekend

The Seal Cove Auto Museum and MDI Historical Society will explore the paranormal at History Happy Hour: Ghost Hunters, not this weekend but on Wednesday, October 4, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Jessup Memorial Library in Bar Harbor, Maine.

Like Seal Cove, the Simeone has a special event early next week — the sixth annual Bonhams collectors motorcars and automobilia takes place at the museum on Monday, October 2.

America On Wheels museum in Allentown, Pennsylvania, hosts a Coffee & Corvettes event Saturday from 10 a.m. until noon.

The Kansas City Automotive Museum will offer a “Meet and Greet the Model T Ford” event Saturday from 10 a.m. until noon. Visitors will hear from owners of various Model T vehicles and learn such things as hand cranking and how to turn on gas-powered headlamps.

The F1rst Sunday Cars & Coffee will be held Sunday from 7:30 to 10 a.m. at the Blackhawk Museum in Danville, California.

Britain’s National Motor Museum at Beaulieu turns the clock back September 30 and October 1 for a British Military weekend family experience. The museum staged as WW1 Family Weekend in 2016 and it was so successful that the program is being expanded this year with living history displays and camping on the museum grounds.

Mark your calendars

The AACA Museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania, has set special hours during the AACA Eastern Regional Fall Meet. The museum will be open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. October 1-3, from 9 a.m. until noon on October4, and from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. on October 5-6. The Night at the Museum gala begins at 5 p.m. on October 4. The museum also offers some overnight parking for cars, trailers or RVs during the week, though advance reservations are required and can be made through the museum’s website.

The California Automobile Museum in Sacramento will feature Charles Phoenix and his Addicted to Americana “comedy slide show” of space-age style, landmarks, roadside attractions and crazy car culture on November 4.

LeMay – America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, Washington, has announced the date for its 2018 Wheels & Heels gala; the annual event is scheduled for September 8, 2018.

Like the LeMay, the AACA Museum is looking into the future; it’s Spring 2nd Chance Auction/Flea Market/Car Corral is scheduled for April 7, 2018.

British museum relaunches apprentice program, and the first one is female

Forty years ago, Doug Hill, now manager and chief engineer of the National Motor Museum in England, was the last graduate of the museum’s apprentice program. To keep alive the skills needed to preserve the museum’s 250-vehicle car collection, he’s relaunched the program — and its first apprentice is 18-year-old Emily Leese.

She had been a museum volunteer since she was 14. She has spent the last two years studying engineering at Sparsholt College. In addition to training with the five-person staff in the museum’s workshop, she will spend time with Rolls-Royce and Bentley specialist P&A Wood, working on Level 2 and 3 diplomas in classic vehicle restoration.

“I think I fit in quite well so far and all the guys have been really good,” Emily said in the museum’s news release. “I definitely feel like part of the team.

Working on an engine

“I get involved in whatever projects are being worked on, from cleaning and polishing to putting things back together. Recently, I helped to re-fit the engine to our 1930 ‘Blower’ Bentley.

“I don’t know why I love cars so much, but I have ever since I was about 3 years old. Fixing things is my passion. I was always playing with toy cars when I was a child and wanted to be an AA (British equivalent of Triple A) lady! Even then, I decided that I wanted to have the knowledge to fix a broken-down car.”

The Beaulieu apprentice program is overseen by the Heritage Skills Academy and its engineering apprenticeships program, with funding from Beaulieu One Hundred group members, the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs and others, including the Worshipful Company of Coachbuilders and Coach Harness Makers of London, and with equipment donated by Draper Tools.

You can follow Emily’s work on her blog on the museum’s website.

Automotive Hall of Fame creates information hub

The Automotive Hall of Fame, based in Dearborn, Michigan, but slated to move into a new facility in downtown Detroit as soon as funding is secured, has launched a new website that, it notes, will be “the new information hub of automotive history.”

“Our goal for the new Automotive Hall of Fame website was to establish the most comprehensive collection of automotive stories about the people who helped move the world forward,” the museum says on the site.

“To that end, we have updated our Inductee database with a plethora of new content including exclusive videos, extensive biographies and thousands of images. This website will serve as vast resource for everyone from casual car fans to automotive aficionados.”

Here’s the link:

LeMay seeks vehicles for upcoming exhibit

LeMay — America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, Washington, still needs three vehicles for the “Through the Lens; Cars Defined by an American Century” exhibit scheduled to open in November. The exhibit will feature one vehicle from each decade from 1910 to 2010 and will ask visitors to consider which best defines the history and culture of its period.

However, the museum still needs three vehicles — a 1972-79 Honda Civic, a 1984-90 Chrysler minivan and a 1991-94 Ford Explorer. It isn’t looking for show cars, but seeks daily drivers that retain their original equipment with few aftermarket accessories.

If your car qualifies, you can contact the museum at by October 15.

In other news relating to the LeMay, America’s Automotive Trust, comprised of the museum, the RPM Foundation, the Concours Club and Club Auto, has hired Adam Langsbard as chief executive and promoted David Madeira to vice chairman, where he can focus on strategic planning.

Langsbard had been chief marketing officer at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles and before that worked in marketing in the entertainment industry.

Beaulieu gets Doctor Who’s Bessie

Doctor Who’s Bessie enters museum display

The LeMay may be looking for some cars, but the National Motor Museum of England has landed a famous one, Bessie from the Doctor Who television series has joined the museum’s On Screen Cars display.

“The Earth-based transport for Jon Pertwee’s third Doctor was a bright yellow vintage car replica which starred in many episodes of the cult sci-fi show across two decades,” the museum said. “Bessie was fitted with space-age modifications fit for the Doctor’s adventures.

“The Siva Edwardian, built on the chassis of a 1954 Ford Popular, first appeared in the “Doctor Who and the Silurians” episode in 1970 when the Doctor was stranded on planet Earth and exiled by the Time Lords without the use of his TARDIS. With a need to stay mobile in his fight against monsters and villains, the Doctor adopted Bessie as his four-wheeled transport.”

The museum also noted that the car’s fiberglass body by Siva Engineering was available as a kit from 1969 into the mid-‘70s. In addition to the four-seat tourer, a two-seat roadster was produced by the Dorset-based company.

Sebring Orange is next special Corvette color

The National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, shares colorful news about the 2018 car. No, it’s not about the location of the engine, but that Sebring Orange Tint Coat will be the special color for the fiberglass-bodied sports car, replacing Black Rose. The orange hue was shown to visitors at the museum’s recent anniversary celebration.

GM Design developed the orange color in 2015 and has been waiting for an opportunity to showcase it on a vehicle.

“It matches an Orange Crush can,” said Wendy Miller of the Corvette model option team.

The new shade will be available for order in mid-October with production during December.

Smithsonian magazine museum day = free admission

Several automotive museums will participate in Smithsonian magazine’s Museum Day Live! program Saturday, which means free admission at many of them. To discover which ones, go to the special Smithsonian website, select your state and see which museums are participating, and then print out your free admission tickets.

Special events this weekend

The Saratoga Automobile Museum in upstate New York hosts its annual Saratoga Auto Auction, Saturday and Sunday at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

It’s Demo Day on Saturday at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia, where the them will be David vs. Goliath — small cars that beat the big guys. Among the cars from the museum’s collection being “exercised” in the parking lot are an MG K3 Magnette, BMW 328, and Alfa Romeo 6C 1750

Muscle Car City in Punta Gorda, Florida, hosts its monthly flea market and car corral Sunday from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m.

The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant, where the first 12,000 Model T’s were produced, and now a museum preserving that history, will open a re-creation of Henry Ford’s “Secret Experimental Room” to visitors for the first time Sunday at 11 a.m. The secret room is where Ford spent months behind closed doors creating his “universal” car. The museum will be open free to visitors on Sunday as it celebrates the Model T’s 109th birthday with Model T rides, music, refreshments and family oriented games. The plant is located at 461 Piquette Street in Detroit.

Sunday, the Petersen Automotive Museum offers the world premier of Climbkhana: Pike’s Peak, a movie featuring Ken Block. But before the 6 p.m. showing, the museum will host a custom car show starting at 4 p.m. and inside the museum, the Xbox driving simulators will allow visitors to drive their favorite Hoonigan cars.

Saturday is Family Steam Day at the LeMay, where your family can design and build a vehicle that will keep an egg safe in a crash. To prove your design works, you’ll actually crash your creation and see how the egg survives.

The MX-5 (Miata) Owners Club’s National Rally is scheduled for Sunday at the British Motor Museum.

Mark your calendar

The Petersen’s 23rd annual gala, scheduled for October 14, will honor “His grace, the Duke of Richmond, Lennox, Aubigny and Gordon” — formerly known as Lord March and officially Charles Gordon-Lennox — with the museum’s Automotive Icon Award in recognition of contributions include the Goodwood Festival of Speed, the Goodwood Revival and the Goodwood Member’s Meeting held on the grounds of his British estate.

“For decades, the Duke has been a wonderful ambassador and proponent of the hobby, embodying the type of enthusiasts this institution hopes to inspire,” Terry Karges, the museum’s executive director, said in a news release.“He is exactly the type of person we had in mind when this award was established.”


Tucker Torpedo concept to debut at AACA gala, and other museum news

The Tucker Torpedo, the never-built (until now) concept car designed as part of the launch of Preston Tucker’s car company, will be unveiled in public for the first time October 4 at the AACA Museum’s “Night at the Museum” event and will remain on display at the museum through October 10 in conjunction with the annual Fall Meet Week, the museum has announced.

“Before there was a Tucker ’48, Preston Tucker engaged a series of design projects that produced a never-built concept vehicle called the Tucker Torpedo,” the museum said in its news release. “While elements of the Torpedo found their way into the design of the production Tucker, the concept car is a very different automobile and was never produced in a full- scale prototype . . . until now.

Torpedo in Tucker brochure | illustration courtesy AACA Museum
Torpedo in Tucker brochure | illustration courtesy AACA Museum

“This car, built by Rob Ida Concepts, brings the Torpedo design concept to life. This is the first ever full-scale representation of Preston Tucker’s 1946 Concept Car ‘The Tucker Torpedo’ as designed by ‘chief stylist’ George Lawson.

“The AACA Museum, Inc. with a permanent display of three Tucker ’48 automobiles, including Tucker #1001, is quickly becoming known as the center of the Tucker Universe, and we’re honored to have been chosen as the location to showcase this legendary vehicle for its first public viewing.”

The museum notes that Ida’s grandfather owned a Tucker dealership and that the family business has created various Tuckers, including the Sin City 2 movie car.

“As you can see from the above concept drawing, the Tucker Torpedo includes a centrally positioned steering wheel, doors that wrap up into the roof, and front fenders that turn when the car is cornering,” the museum reported. “These are just a few of the distinguishing features you’ll be able to see when the Torpedo is on view.

The Torpedo was commissioned by Bob Kerekes, the museum said, adding that Kerekes also owns the “Lower 48″ Tucker custom car that was on display at the museum as well as a hand-built Tucker recreation done in 2005.

“My Tucker vehicles have brought me more joy than any other cars in my life,” car-collector Kerekes is quoted in the museum news release.

“Bob Kerekes, along with the Ida family and the Tucker family have all put in a tremendous amount of time, thought, energy and dedicated effort to bring the Tucker Torpedo to life in its historic form,” the museum said. “A shared passion and emotional attachment to all things Tucker led the owner and builder to hold the first public showing of the Torpedo right here at the AACA Museum Inc.”

The Night at The Museum gala and live auction benefits the Children’s Miracle Network at the Penn State Health Children’s Hospital and will feature Indy 500 winner Bobby Rahal as recipient of the museum’s first Automotive Heritage Award.

The first Bowling Green-built Corvette | National Corvette Museum photo
The first Bowling Green-built Corvette | National Corvette Museum photo

Corvette museum celebrates Kentucky transportation history

Opening recently and running through May 2018 is a special History of Transportation in Kentucky exhibit at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The exhibit is being done in conjunction with the commonwealth’s 225th anniversary.

Kentucky-built cars are included, among them the first Bowling Green-built Chevrolet Corvette, a 1943 Ford GPW (Jeep), a Dixie Flyer, and the one-millionth U.S.-built Toyota Camry (from the assembly plant in Georgetown, Kentucky), but so is a horse-drawn sleigh, a 1935 Allis-Chalmers WC tractor, and much more.

LeMay seeks vintage toys, horns and golf gear

The Le May – America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, Washington, is looking for items for upcoming displays.

One will feature vintage automotive, wheels and/or motorized toys for an upcoming display in the museum’s lobby. Items, including Schwinn and BMX bicycles, Radio Flyer wagons, Cox, tethered or remote-control cars, toy plans and boats, vintage Big Wheels, old skateboards, Soap Box Derby cars, should be in “museum-presentable condition.”

Another will show vintage brass-era horns and vintage wooden-shafted golf clubs and attire. If you have items to loan for either event, email

Special events this weekend

America on Wheels museum in Allentown opens “The Cars from Transformers” exhibit Saturday at 10 a.m. and at 1 p.m, former GM design chief, Ed Welburn, will do a special presentation on “Transformers and the Future of the Automobile.” Welburn was responsible for the Bumblebee Camaro that was among the movie’s stars.

The Henry Ford museum in Dearborn, Michigan, stages its annual Old Car Festival this weekend, both Saturday at Sunday at Greenfield Village. In its 67th year and billed as America’s longest-running antique car show, the event is open to cars produced before 1933. Featured this year is the centennial of the Lincoln Motor Company.

It’s Holley LS Fest weekend at the National Corvette Museum and at Beech Bend Raceway Park and the NCM Motorsports Park, all in Bowling Green, Kentucky, where vehicles powered by the GM LS (or current-generation) LT V8 engines will be featured.

LeMay – America’s Car Museum stages its Summer Ender Fender Bender event Saturday with the Friends n’ Fenders tour, a classic car and vintage motorcycle show, beer garden and music. The museum’s Race Night is scheduled for September 14.

Britain’s National Motor Museum at Beaulieu hosts its annual Retro Truck Show on Saturday and Sunday.

Mark your calendars

The National Corvette Museum plans a special program the weekend of September 23-24 at its motorsports park for members of the Nashville Cars n’ Coffee group. NASA racers will be at the park for a test ’n tune day September 29 in anticipation of their Great Lakes racing program September 30 and October 1.

LeMay – America’s Car Museum offers its final “Take a Spin” of the season on Thursday, September 21, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. with rides being offered in several of the museum’s cars.

The Kansas City Automotive Museum will offer a “Meet and Greet the Model T Ford” event on September 30 and, in conjunction with a month-long motorcycle exhibit, a motorcycle ride as part of its October 7 cars and coffee cruise-in.

Car museums are setting their fall program schedules. For example, the AACA Museum will host Model T driving experiences September 13 and 16, a Chevrolet Corvair show on September 23, a Matchbox toy show on September 24, a Corvette racing weekend October 20-21, and a Diamond REO truck show on October 22. The museum also is organizing a trip to Italy for November 3-12.

Britain’s National Motor Museum at Beaulieu offers programs this fall for adults and children.

Workshops in photography are planned October 14 and 15 and on November 11. The “Classic Virgins Experience Day” on October 21 offers information on classic car ownership for those considering their first purchase; also on the 21st, the museum will offer a “Writing Your Motoring Memoirs” workshop. Automotive art classes are planned for November 18 and 19.

The museum also offers a lecture series with Stuart Graham talking about his racing career on October 14, Dick Skipworth and Tom Purves presenting “Patrons of Motor Sport” on November 18, and the movie, Secret Spitfires, on December 9.

The museum’s autumn Children’s Clubs include a Robotics Saturday Club that runs from September 9 to October 21 with an Engineering Saturday Club starting November 4 and going through December 9. Topics are tailored to age groups — 5-8 year-olds meet at 10:30 a.m. and those 9-11 at 11:45 a.m. The museum also offers Mini Motorists morning activities and storytelling for those younger than age 5 on the third Monday of each month from 10 a.m. until noon.

For details, visit the museum website.

Museums: Strong representation at Monterey Car Week

Car museums were well represented on the 18th fairway at the 67th annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance last weekend, as well as at other venues during Monterey Car Week.

Five of the eight cars in the Open Wheel Race Car class were museum vehicles, and four of the 10 cars in the American Dream Cars of the 1960s class ventured out of their museum homes onto the 18th fairway.

Continue reading

Petersen, to showcase lowriders at Monterey

Lowrider on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum | Petersen photos
Lowrider on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum | Petersen photos and the Petersen Automotive Museum launch a strategic partnership during Monterey Car Week, where they will stage a special exhibit of lowriders at McCall’s Motorworks Revival and at The Quail: A Motorsports Gathering. Continue reading

Museums: Hershey School ‘limbo’ wagon slated for restoration

One of the Hershey School's 'limbo wagons' is ready for restoration | AACA Museum photo
One of the Hershey School’s ‘limbo wagons’ is ready for restoration | AACA Museum photo

It was in 1959, during the 50th anniversary of the school and home for orphaned boys founded by Milton S. and Catherine Hershey, that the decision was made to provide a more home-style environment. Part of that change included purchasing a fleet of station wagons.

To replace the more formal school buses that had been used for student travel between housing units and the school, the school purchased a fleet of 1962 Chevrolet Biscayne wagons. Those wagons went to Stageway, a coachbuilder in Cincinnati, for conversion to hold a driver and as many as 13 students at a time. Continue reading

Museums: Beaulieu to fire up famed BRM V16 engine

1950 BRM will roar back to life | National Motor Museum photo by Samantha  Samantha Cook Photography
1950 BRM will roar back to life | National Motor Museum photo by Samantha Samantha Cook Photography

If you want to draw a crowd, simply start the engine of a vintage racing car. The unmuffled sound is magnetic. Crank it and they will come.

You may recall the celebration that surrounded the repair and restarting in 2014 of the engine in Malcolm Campbell’s “Blue Bird” Sunbeam 1924 speed-record car, and the crowd that gathered a year later when the car made another run on the Pendine Sands. Continue reading

Museums: Red barns, multi-hued cars at Gilmore ‘Spectacular’

Classic cars such as this Bonneville racer amid the Gilmore's red barns | Larry Edsall photo
Classic red barns and cars such as this Bonneville racer at the Gilmore | Larry Edsall photo

The annual Red Barns Spectacular car show and swap meet takes place August 5 at the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan. Sponsored by the Kalamazoo Antique Auto Restorers Club, the event annually draws a few thousand vehicles for what is two shows — a judged show and a driver’s choice show, both open to vehicles of all sorts that are at least 25 years old. Continue reading

Museums: Plywood shaped modern life, even our cars

A 1937 DKW F7 cutaway is part of the plywood exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum | V&A Museum photos
A 1937 DKW F7 cutaway is part of the plywood exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum | V&A Museum photos

So I’m cruising through the daily newsletter and there’s a story about a new exhibit running through November 12 at the V&A Museum, aka the Victoria and Albert Museum, London’s showcase of art and design. The exhibit’s title is “Plywood: Material of the Modern World,” and the first two photographs illustrating the article prominently feature cars — a passenger vehicle and a racing car.

Plywood in cars? Even racing cars? Hey, we know about woody wagons and how in the early days horseless carriage bodies were made from hardwoods. But plywood? Continue reading

Lowrider Renaissance and the ‘art in defiance’ at the Petersen

El Rey and the Piñata in the Lowrider exhibit at the Petersen Automotive Museum | Larry Crane photos
El Rey and the Piñata in the Lowrider exhibit at the Petersen Automotive Museum | Larry Crane photos

Without irony, the art and artisans of the lowrider culture occupy the Petersen Automotive Museum’s gallery named for Armand Hammer, a collector of fine art representing some of the most controversial creative anarchy in the history of art — beginning with the creative anarchists of Florence who reintroduced lifelike humanism in the late 15th century after a millennium of Byzantine cartoons of lifeless icons. We call it The Rebirth (Renaissance). Continue reading